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31 U.S. Code § 3723 - Small claims for privately owned property damage or loss

(a) The head of an agency (except a military department of the Department of Defense or the Coast Guard) may settle a claim for not more than $1,000 for damage to, or loss of, privately owned property that—
is caused by the negligence of an officer or employee of the United States Government acting within the scope of employment; and
may not be settled under chapter 171 of title 28.
A claim under this section may be allowed only if it is presented to the head of the agency within one year after it accrues.
A claim under this section may be paid as provided in section 1304 of this title only if the claimant accepts the amount of the settlement in complete satisfaction of the claim against the Government.
(Pub. L. 97–258, Sept. 13, 1982, 96 Stat. 975.)

Historical and Revision Notes

Revised Section

Source (U.S. Code)

Source (Statutes at Large)


31:215(1st sentence), 216.

Dec. 28, 1922, ch. 17, §§ 1–3, 42 Stat. 1066.



July 3, 1943, ch. 189, § 4, 57 Stat. 373.



Dec. 28, 1945, ch. 597, § 4(words before 3d comma), 59 Stat. 662.



Dec. 28, 1945, ch. 597, 59 Stat. 662, § 5(last sentence); added Mar. 20, 1946, ch. 104, 60 Stat. 56.



Aug. 2, 1946, ch. 753, § 424(a)(last par. on p. 846), 60 Stat. 846.


31:215(last sentence proviso).


31:215(last sentence less proviso), 217.

In subsection (a), before clause (1), the text of 31:216(words before semicolon) is omitted as unnecessary because of section 102 of the revised title. The words “acting on behalf of the Government of the United States” in 31:215 are omitted as unnecessary. The word “settle” is substituted for “consider, ascertain, adjust, and determine” for consistency. The words “after April 6, 1917” are omitted as executed.

In subsection (c), the words “A claim under this section may be paid” are added for clarity. The words “as provided in section 1304 of this title” are substituted for 31:215(last sentence less proviso) because 31:215(last sentence less proviso) is superseded by section 201 of the Supplemental Appropriations Act, 1978 (Pub. L. 95–240, 92 Stat. 116). The words “of the settlement” are substituted for “determined under the provisions of sections 215 and 216 of this title” in 31:217 for consistency and to eliminate unnecessary words. The word “complete” is substituted for “full” for consistency. The word “satisfaction” is substituted for “settlement” for clarity.

Statutory Notes and Related Subsidiaries
Transfer of Functions

For transfer of authorities, functions, personnel, and assets of the Coast Guard, including the authorities and functions of the Secretary of Transportation relating thereto, to the Department of Homeland Security, and for treatment of related references, see sections 468(b), 551(d), 552(d), and 557 of Title 6, Domestic Security, and the Department of Homeland Security Reorganization Plan of November 25, 2002, as modified, set out as a note under section 542 of Title 6.